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Jul 25, 2014
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This week's words
bohemian
damson
Gretna Green
whitehall
rounceval

rounceval
The death of Roland at the Battle of Roncevaux
From an illustrated manuscript (1455-1460)

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

rounceval or rouncival

PRONUNCIATION:
(ROUN-si-vuhl)

MEANING:
adjective: Big or strong.
noun: Someone or something that is large.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Roncesvalles, a town at the foot of the Pyrenees. It was the site of the Battle of Roncevaux Pass in 778 in which Roland, a commander of Charlemagne's army, was defeated by the Basques. Over time the story turned into a legend and giant bones of prehistoric animals discovered at the site were claimed to be those of heroes slain at the battle. Earliest documented use: 1570.

USAGE:
"She was a big girl, a rouncival, Desroches called her."
Dolors Tool; Appetite for Murder; Breakwater Books; 2002.

"Gold ingots the size of rounceval peas, they say. Oh, and there's another curious aspect to the legend."
Louis Bayard; The School of Night; Henry Holt and Co.; 2010.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
The less justified a man is in claiming excellence for his own self, the more ready he is to claim all excellence for his nation, his religion, his race, or his holy cause. A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people's business. -Eric Hoffer, philosopher and author (1902-1983)

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